Friday, October 11, 2013

Make It Take It! Wire Sculpture

The arts can make you smart! Recent research demonstrates a correlation between the arts and higher academic performance. In the report, “Learning, Arts and the Brain,” seven universities presented several studies discussing how visual arts, music, and dance training and skill impact learning (The Dana Foundation, 2008). This is why I try to incorporate as much art as I can within my library programs. This blog entry talks about the Make It Take It program that I lead at 95th Street Library.  Make It Take It  is a weekly program that features a 15 minute storytime followed by a unique and fun craft. Activities are geared towards 3-5 year olds.  This craft is specifically inspired by Alexander Calder's wire sculptures: 

Alexander Calder | Elephant (c. 1928)

The craft will be done using a styrofoam base, pipecleaners, and beads and is meant to inspire creativity within children! Here is what the craft will look like: 

Short Storytime Outline: 

Opening Song Options: 

My Energy by Laurie Berkner (Great action song to get kids moving)
I'm Me & You're You by Laurie Berkner

(This song has an excellent message about how kids are all unique individuals. Here is a snippet of the lyrics: "I'm me and you're you. I like green, you like blue. I use tape, you use glue. I stayed short and you grew. It doesn't matter what we do. 'Cause I'm still me and you're still you." I would sing this with Shakers and have lyrics on the white board)


A Day With No Crayons by Elizabeth Rusch

Lines that Wiggle by Candice Whitman

Art by Patrick McDonnel

The Straight Line Wonder by Mem Fox

Flannel Boards / Fingerplays & Songs

Clancy the Clown  - A Flannelboard Story
(This was a really fun story that was very interactive! This flannel helps children identify their colors and shapes and is also very funny!)

Clancy was a clown in a circus.  Every day he put on a funny face that made the children clap and laugh.  Then he did somersaults and rode a pig.  Clancy blew a trumpet and that made the children clap and laugh too.

One day Clancy went to put on his funny face.  He put on his silly eyes (place eyes).  He put on his happy mouth (place mouth).  He put on his crazy hair (place hair).  But Clancy Clown couldn't find his funny nose. 
"I know my nose", said Clancy.  "My nose is round and red.  Where is my funny nose?"

Clancy found a nose that looked like this  (put on a blue square nose). It was a blue square nose. Was this Clancy Clown's nose? (The kids scream out, "NO!") "No", said Clancy Clown. "This is not my nose. This is a blue square nose. My name is round and red. (remove blue square) I know my nose!" 

Clancy found a nose that looked like this. (Put on a green triangle nose). It was a green triangle nose. Was this Clancy Clown's nose? "No" said Clancy Clown. "This is not my nose. This is a green triangle nose. My nose is round and red.  (Remove green triangle) I know my nose!"

Clancy found a nose that looked like this (Put on a big yellow circle) . It was a big yellow round nose. Was this Clancy Clowns's nose? (Children scream out, "NO!") ,  "No." said Clancy Clown. "This is  a round nose, but it is big and yellow. My nose is round and red. (Remove yellow circle) I know my nose!" 

Clancy found  another nose that looked like this (Put on a tiny purple circle).  It was a tiny purple circle. Was this Clancy Clown's nose? (Children scream out, "NO!") "No" , said Clancy Clown. "This is not my nose. This is a round nose but it's tiny and purple. My nose is round and red. (Remove purple circle) I know my nose!" 

Then Clancy found a nose that looked like this (Use red circle). It was a round nose. It was a red nose. Was this Clancy Clown's nose? (let audience scream "YES!"). 

Clancy Clown put on his funny nose and went out to turn somersaults and ride a pig and blow his trumpet so the children would clap and laugh. Clancy Clown knows his nose... and now so do you!

Rainbow Colors

Tune: Hush, Little Baby
Rainbow purple, rainbow blue
Rainbow green and yellow, too
Rainbow orange, rainbow red
Rainbow smiling overhead.
Come and count the colors with me
How many colors can you see?
One, two, three, down to green,
Four, five, six can be seen
Rainbow purple, rainbow blue,
Rainbow green and yellow, too.
Rainbow orange, rainbow red,
Rainbow smiling overhead.
Rainbow Colors
Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Start by putting all the rainbow shapes out on the flannel board - as you sing the song, point to each colored rainbow. (Center the red rainbow in the middle of the board). Build the rainbow starting with red on the outside working into purple as you sing the line "Rainbow smiling overhead." Pause until the rainbow is assembled then continue singing. 

Rainbow purple, rainbow blue,
Rainbow green and yellow too
Rainbow orange, rainbow red
Rainbow smiling overhead.
(Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple... assemble rainbow at this time)

Come and count the colors with me
How many colors can you see?
One, two, three, down to green,
Four, five, six can be seen

Rainbow purple, rainbow blue,
Rainbow green and yellow too
Rainbow orange, rainbow red
Rainbow smiling overhead. 

You have counted the colors with me
All of the colors that we see. 

Our Shapes 
Tune: “Did You Ever See a Lassie?”

Did you ever see a circle, a circle, a circle? 
Did you ever see a circle? 
It looks like a ball.
Did you ever see a rectangle, 
Rectangle, rectangle? 
Did you ever see a rectangle? 
It looks like a door.
Did you ever see a triangle, 
Triangle, triangle? 
Did you ever see a triangle? 
It looks like a sail.
Did you ever see a square, 
A square, a square? 
Did you ever see a square? 
It looks like a box.

Source: Addison Library

Wire Sculpture Craft Instructions: 

·        Styrofoam Base
·        Multicolored Pipe Cleaners 
·        Multicolored Pony Beads / Assorted Beads

1) Put as many or as little beads of any color onto a pipe cleaner
2) Bend, curl, and twist pipe cleaners into any shape you like. Poke each end of the pipe cleaner into the Styrofoam base.
3) Intersect the pipe cleaners and make them tall or short and twist them into whatever funky shape you like! The purpose of this craft is to be creative. No two sculptures should look alike.

Early literacy tips:

By encouraging the child to use their fine motor skills to put pony beads on the pipe cleaner and bend it, they are developing the muscle strength needed to be able to write successfully someday. The children will also feel that the art is more their own when they are completing it themselves. Instruct children to bend pipe cleaners into different shapes. Parents could help children make more complex shapes. Older children may want to make people, animals, trucks, or anything they’d like, or they can just make an abstract work of art.

Coloring Sheet:
Pass out an art-themed coloring sheet inspired by famous artists after the activity! There are free printable sheets here:


Since it is Fall, I also have a display of art books in the J Non-fiction section. Here is my display: 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Family Storytime: Apple Pie!

Hello everyone! I have not updated in quite some time because I have started a new job as a Children's Services Associate at a large public library with 3 different branches. I have also begun working on my Masters in Library Science at Dominican University so I am quite the busy lady! I have finally settled into my new job though and I am excited to share all of my programming ideas with you once again. 

Since it is October, I put together an apple themed storytime! This was presented at our Family Storytime program which allows all ages to join in although most of the books are geared towards preschoolers. This post includes stories about apples, apple trees, and apple pie (yum, yum!). Here are some ideas:

Opening Song: Raffi - Shake My Sillies Out

Book: Odd Dog by Claudio Boldt

This is a really cute story about a dog whose apples from his tree keep falling into his neighbor's yard. The dog is really worried about it because he wants all the apples for himself! Turns out, the dog's neighbor doesn't even like apples and he returns the apples to the dog. In the end, the "odd dog" ends up having a picnic for all his dog friends, sharing apple pie. I really liked this story because it also teaches children about friendship and sharing which is an important moral lesson!

Song: A.P.P.L.E. (Tune: "BINGO")
For this story, I had giant foam letters that spelled out A P P L E on our flannel board. I pointed to the letters as I sung the song. 

I know a fruit that grows on trees, 
An apple is its name, oh!
An apple is its name, oh!

In summer and in early fall
It's time to pick an apple!

It may be sweet or may be tart,
It's red, or green, or yellow! 

A McIntosh or Granny Smith, 
A Winesap or Delicious!

Make applesauce or apple juice 
Or apple pie with apples! 

Song: Way Up High in the Apple Tree by Carole Peterson
Way up high in the apple tree 
One little apple smiled at me! 
I shook that tree as hard as I could 
Down came the apple – Mmmm, it sure looks good! 
(repeat with another smiling apple)

Two little apples under the tree 
One for you, and one for me 
Two little apples, crunch crunch crunch! 

Two little apples, let's eat them for our lunch! YUM

Book 2: Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington

This is a great story about a girl that picks apples and sells them at the farmer's market! I like it because it shows all the different foods you can make simply from picking apples. 

Flannel Board: 5 Apples in a Basket

The first apple in the basket was a bright and shiny red.
The second apple in the basket said, “My what a cozy bed.”
The third apple in the basket said, “Now we two are a pair.”
The fourth apple int he basket said, “Please move over there.”

The fifth apple in the basket said, “Oh dear, oh me, oh my!  This basket looks like a pastry–I think we’re in a pie!”

This flannel is super cute! I made it myself and it was a lot of fun to present. I got the idea from this Falling Flannelboard blog!

Song: Apples and Bananas by Raffi

Book: All for Pie, Pie for All by David Martin and Illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev

This is a classic book about pie!

Flannel Board: Fly Fly, Little Fly

Put the pie slices up on the board, asking children what each flavor the slice was. Then I had the children cover their eyes so I could hide the fly. Each flavor we would song together: 

Fly, Fly, Little fly, are you under the (insert flavor here) pie?

And so on until we found the fly!

Idea from Fergus Falls Public Library

Closing Song: Silly Dance Contest by Jim Gill - played with Shakers! 

At the end of storytime I had children line up for a pie or apple stamp on their hand. They really love getting stamps at the end! 

Other Books to Consider: 

Ned's New Home by Kevin Tseng

Amazing Apples by Consie Powell 

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne F. Rockwell (Good for a Halloween theme)

Apple Pie Tree